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There’s the old adage that good things come to those who wait, but in the case of remittances, some people might want to wonder if there’s really a bright future ahead. For centuries, immigrants across countries and continents have been sending money back home to loved ones through trusted money transfers and family members. This can be difficult as many countries will not allow any direct outbound international transfers.
The current process for remittances is full of obstacles that can slow down transfers and increase costs while requiring trust in third parties whose motivations could be shrouded in secrecy or even fraudulent financial gain. But now, new blockchain-based remittance services are providing more transparency and promising to reduce some of the friction that has long plagued the process of sending money across borders.
Blockchain-based Remittance Service
Blockchain remittance is a financial solution that blends blockchain technology into the remittance economy’s different needs. It means that service providers can use blockchain-powered payment solutions to transmit and receive money between two people, most likely in different countries.
Unlike traditional remittance routes, blockchain remittance does not rely on centralized entities such as payment systems, foreign currency, or banks. Instead, the transaction occurs between the sender and the receiver. The only intermediaries are a mobile wallet/bank app and the blockchain network. The digital ledger system of blockchain records transactions across networks and allows for more transparent accounting and security. The decentralized ledger makes it harder for fraud and tampering to occur, as there is no one centralized point of attack.
With over 2 billion people without access to bank accounts, blockchain technology can provide an alternative means of payment and the ability to save and borrow money.
Examples of Blockchain Remittance
Blockchain-based solutions like Ripple have emerged as a new technology that promises to cut remittance wait times. Ripple has already seen some success on this front. In December, Ripple announced a partnership with Earthport that would allow the large London-based international payments processor to connect to Ripple’s growing network for an even faster and more secure experience for customers at a greatly reduced cost.
Likewise, Stellar, the crypto platform for financial services, is an example of how blockchain can assist the remittance industry. Users can trade between fiat currencies and crypto, courtesy of Stellar Lumens (XLM) tokens.
Another example is Bitspark, which recently announced a partnership with the Filipino market leader, Cebuana Lhuillier. “This partnership will enable Bitspark customers across the Philippines to receive their wages or pay bills in Bitcoin, helping to provide an alternative means of access for individuals who can’t open bank accounts,” the company said.
Coins.ph is another crucial name since it allows users to process international remittance and other everyday transactions using cryptocurrencies. These are just a few examples of projects in blockchain remittance.
How do Blockchain Remittance Companies Work?
Blockchain remittance companies use the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, but instead of being used as a form of currency, blockchain remittance converts digital cryptocurrency into fiat currency (government-issued legal tender like USD or EUR) at the sender’s end. By lowering the need for overhead fees and virtually eliminating the risk associated with sending money internationally, blockchain remittances are not only faster and cheaper than traditional methods; they’re more reliable and secure too. In many cases, users can send large amounts of money abroad using cryptocurrency technology for a fraction of what it would cost using traditional channels today.
Cryptocurrency is the primary mode of payment for blockchain remittances, and that means there are three main steps involved in the process:
Send — Cryptocurrency can be sent using a digital wallet. Users must have an address on their end, which makes PAYMENT DEFAULT their cryptocurrency of choice. Users need a digital wallet to store their currency of choice. If they already own a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (BTC), they can simply send it over to the blockchain remittance company’s exchange partner, convert it to fiat currency, and get paid that way. Otherwise, users can ask third party exchanges to convert the cryptocurrency for them.
Receive — The recipient gets their funds by converting the cryptocurrency into fiat currency at the receiving end. Users get paid their fiat currency at the receiving end using blockchain technology or a debit-like payment system like Swift or SEPA (which are similar to each other and work kind of like credit cards).
Exchange — The recipient gets paid in his or her local fiat currency via exchange using blockchain technology.
Benefits of Blockchain-based Remittance
Blockchain-based remittance system will set a good example for future generations as this technology has two intrinsic characteristics: adaptability and scalability.
A key feature of blockchain technology is that it can automatically distribute the remittances of those without bank accounts. It provides similar functions to digital wallets, but on a larger scale. The entire world has the potential to benefit from blockchain technology as it would reduce the cost and time it takes to receive remittances from overseas family members. Blockchain remittance eliminates the need for many intermediaries. Except for the mobile wallet or bank that clients utilize, blockchain technology will be the lone intermediary in the transaction. A new design like this will lower the transaction costs and time limitations of remittance transactions. A remittance transaction will arrive at the destination in minutes, if not seconds. Because there are no middlemen involved in the transaction, transaction fees will be negligible.
Another major benefit of blockchain technology is that it offers a secure method of sharing information. High-value transactions such as identity verification and credit scoring can be done more efficiently through the use of blockchain. It is a useful way to transfer funds overseas because it maintains an immutable record of events, including each step within an international remittance transaction. For verification and security, blockchain remittance employs the fundamental concepts of cryptography. All blockchain transactions will be recorded on a public ledger, providing utmost privacy for the people (or organizations) involved. Algorithms are used in blockchain technology to prevent data manipulation. This allows for full transparency and auditability of the process. Through a distributed ledger platform, businesses can reduce their costs and increase efficiency in the financial services industry. In short, blockchain remittance transactions will be secure, private, and verifiable for the most part.
There are multiple applications for blockchain in the remittance industry, as well as its potential for use in other financial applications such as bonds, equities, and cryptocurrencies. With the increasing development of blockchain technology, the industries that use it will continue to evolve in this space. Many countries are developing improved regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrency transactions in order to increase user trust and confidence in these platforms.